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Ryan Decker’s “Feudal relief” blurs the lines between physical, digital and mystical art
Objects from Ryan Decker’s Feudal Relief exhibition
Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

Ryan Decker’s “Feudal relief” blurs the lines between physical, digital and mystical art

From a lamp inspired by thorny vines to a mirror describing the lifecycle of a fetus, the exhibition hosts an assortment of bizarre objects as a statement on neo-feudalism.

by Ayushi Mathur
Published on : Jun 18, 2022

“One only needs to look at the schizophrenic nature of a Marvel movie to recognize the grave cultural unrest at play. Now is not the time for minimalist art. Now is the time for art that reflects our present of overstimulation and chaos,” says Ryan Decker, US based artist for his latest exhibition at the Superhouse Gallery, New York. Decker explores beyond the depths of Neo-futurism, an unnerving space between physical and digital realities with his latest exhibition ‘Feudal Relief’. Just as the title would suggest, the exhibition is a visual statement of an important historic event – the revocation of feudalism in 9th century Europe.

Feudal relief at Superhouse Gallery Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

Presenting a large gathering of everyday objects, Ryan Decker’s exhibits sure command a second glance with its unique narrative built around paradoxical themes and conceptual story plots. “The works in the show are well-developed take on fresh forms, and are unlike anything anyone has ever seen in real life,” says Stephen Markos, founder and director of Superhouse. A satirical exposition highlighting the ever-growing need to cope with oppressive forms of authority is created by transforming the Superhouse space into a dungeon-cum-domestic diorama by the American artist. He draws inspiration from fantastical creatures, characteristically subversive Ghouls and medieval motifs from the margins of illustrated manuscripts to bring forth a starkly unique collection.

The Green Bean Bulwark vase Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

An immersive digital rendering of a stone walled room surrounds the viewers in the gallery, immediately transporting them to 14th Century Europe in a setting straight from the Dungeons and Dragons board game. Frontlining as a valorous totem, Decker's carved wood throne anchors the show. Hand-crafted from basswood, the throne appears to be meticulously sanded and airbrushed in an apparent brick-like stretcher bond. The ‘Bricks and bones with a Fairy on top’ throne is then completed with the whimsical addition of Decker’s 3D print cast bronze ‘critters’ that hold mystical personalities of torpedo-shaped fishes and maniacal fairies.

The ‘Bricks and Bones with a fairy on top’ throne Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson
The little critters of the throne Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

Upon a brisk tour of the space, Decker’s ‘Fetus cycle’ standing mirror immediately draws the viewer’s attention. In a show of cutting-edge technology, the basswood mirror at first seems to be sinuous but simple from a distance. However, upon closer inspection one notices the gory little dull-purple resin embodiments of developing fetuses through different stages, dance around the mirror. A sight which might make one uneasy is the artists’ vision of weighty and meaningful art.

The fetus cycle mirror Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

The objects in observation are not limited to being cultural symbols but are extraordinary articles of the American artist’s colourful vision. As illustrated with his UV-printed aluminium pendant light that he playfully describes as the 'Lantern for your Downtown Dungeon' that blurs the lines between being unattainable and exhibiting the highest level of technical sophistication. Decker doesn’t shy away from using bold colours, sleek contours and petrifying visuals as pixels of a large and meaningful picture. A noteworthy addition to Decker’s Superhouse display is his video on loop - the Sedentary Pilgrimage. The video successfully blends the physical reality with the digital world with a custom-composed sound piece by Robovine – multimedia music and art project comprising Decker and musician Nikolaus Hendry.

The ‘Mud wizard gives a vision of the future’ art mirror Image: Courtesy of Sean Davidson

Florida-born artist Ryan Decker graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Science in industrial design from Appalachian State University. With his extraordinary and highly imaginative creative adaptations, Ryan Decker creates amusing displays of objects that speak volumes about anarchy and beliefs contrasting religion. He establishes a definitive narrative stressing the fact that the modern world, despite being decades ahead of the age of feudalism, still breathes in a corporate-led neo-feudal prison.

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